Welcome to the North, to those of you that don’t live here anyway!
It’s not always grim opp north but sometimes the weather plays it’s part in thinking it is. With 21 intrepid drivers entering the Cadwell Park races we were topping the charts in numbers as only the 2 guest series of the Morgans, and madness that was the MGCC Triple “M” race had more drivers than we did.
That didn’t stop some of our drivers doing their level best to take themselves out of the running, some by mechanical maladies, others were tripped up by the conditions. Matt Simpson took to the spannering really early with his Tomcat as he was having oil pump issues on the Friday when he arrived, this would mean he was to qualify out of session and would be starting from the back of the grid.
Qualy was a wet affair, but thankfully most were too asleep and still partaking of the first coffee of the day to worry about car set up due to the impending rain etc.
So out they all went into the very picturesque Lincolnshire countryside. First to want to have a better look at the scenery was James Darby with a trip into the barriers at the bottom of the Mountain. Excuses number #156-158 were used to blame both the standing water with cold used tyres, and of course the #158b excuse of someone else’s oil on the racing line. Luckily there was only superficial damage to the car, but he was to start the races at the of the grid.
Hannah Brian decided that the rules say you only have to do 3 laps, and that was fine by her. She would wait for better weather thank you. Her car decided that it agreed and dutifully threw all the bearings out of the nearside wheel hub.
Alan Brooke in the other Metro was ably assisted by some other members of the MG Cup fraternity and the hub assembly was to be changed in time for Race 1.
Steve Darbey was having issues of his own and was unable to get the car out in time to start the qualifying session and took no further part in the meeting unfortunately.
It was mostly dry all the way around the circuit with the obvious damp patches here and there from the downpour earlier in the morning.
Pole sitter Andy Spencer only first sat in the car on the Thursday before the race weekend, but he was obviously happy to let the 4G team continuously tinker with the car in the run up to the race, and it paid off as he was to take the lead and stay at the front for the whole race.
Ashley Woodward had a good and start and squeezed out Alan Brooke off the line and was up into second place overall by the time he exited Charlies bend.
Matt Simpson in the very quick Tomcat Turbo was starting at the back of the grid and by the time he was onto the back straight he had passed seven cars. Cracking start.
On the entry into the Hall Bends Dave Nixon who was in 3rd place in his Tomcat missed the first apex and headed over the very wet grass and spun, luckily he was missed by the rest of the perusing pack and re-joined with no damage at the back.
Buckley had a grassy moment or two on Lap 2 and fell back from 3rd place after being passed by Alan Brooke who was on a charge chasing after Ashley Woodward.
MGB Stalwart Jonesey had a coming together with one of the newcomers to the series, and unfortunately the older MGB came off worse with front end damage. This would be repaired in time for the second race and all eventually sorted with smiles and handshakes.
Mayhem was to ensue on lap 3 after the fast ZR of Paddy Booth who had started on the front row of the grid had a massive moment in Hall bends, putting a wheel onto the slippery grass on the entry to the second of the esses got a tank slapper on that was to eventually pitch the car nose first heavily into the barrier and back again onto the other side of the race track. Quick thinking by the driver got the car restarted and pulled out of harms way, thankfully the driver was out of the car safe and sound.
With the barrier dislodged there was a safety car period for the next 3 laps to repair the damage and recovery the stricken ZR.
During all this commotion a few other drivers decided they had had enough too.
Alan Brooke retired the Metro on the lap 4 due to a fuel rail O ring failure.
James Walpole retired hid MGB with gear selector issues.
James Darby retired the MGB GT with a head gasket failure
Also Mike Harris retired early on. I know not why.
Once the safety car had turned off the lights the racing was back under way for just one more lap and Spencer tore off into the distance on his way to victory. Marge Simpson was heading the Tomcat race in 8th place overall in front of Dave Nixon. An excellent recovery from the back of the grid.
There were shenanigans on the last lap around the Gooseneck section with Ian Boulton, Rich Buckley and Ashley Woodward all taking to the grass in an effort to be first to the chequered flag but it was Buckley who edged it in the end.
A – Sharpe.
B – Buckley.
C – Woodward.
With the Sunshine now having a go at joining in with the English summer it was ice creams all round supplied by a nice Scotsman, along with copious amounts of tinkering spannering, and all round patching up of things. Ian Boulton was as usual to be found wandering around the paddock with his favourite hammer and a wry smile on his face.
But as is the way with that summer thing, it started to rain with aplomb half an hour before Race 2.
With only 16 cars left from our original 21 taking to the grid the heavens were well and truly open.
Spencer and Woodward checked out early and were 10 car lengths clear as they entered the Mountain for the first time, Buckley, Burchill and Boulton were chasing but the conditions were not helping matters. With the MGB of Jonesey being the only rear wheel drive car left on the grid he was struggling in the wet as it really was front wheel drive territory now. By lap 2 the top two cars of Spencer and Woodward were nearly 8 seconds clear of Buckley in third, maybe they had new wet tyres on that the rest did not, but they were certainly enjoying the conditions.
On lap 3 Alan Brooke was working his way rapidly up the through the pack and after a deft move on a few drivers at Park Bend he was up into 5th and chasing the ZS of Burchill.
Brooke, Buckley, Boulton and Burchill were to have a monumental battle for the next few laps with places being swapped much more readily in the wet conditions than they are in the dry. Lewis Anderson who was in a borrowed car, had forgotten he was in a borrowed car and was chasing hard. Dave Nixon and Iain Dowler were also not far behind.
It was all to end in the inevitable scenario though as Buckley had a moment of his own coming down onto the start finish straight, and in avoidance Ian Boulton and Lewis Anderson bounced off each other and the barriers. Ian and Lewis were later to be seen trudging in the rain towards the dryness of the control tower.
Dave Brown was having fun and was doing well in his Class C ZR which is still in it’s development stages. Charlie (New Boy) Moreton was getting to grips with his ZR and had managed to pull himself further up the field in race 2 than in the previous dry outing. Hannah Brian had a special mention from the commentators as the Mighty Metro in standard Class A form was going really well after it’s problems earlier in the day. She was catching the MGB of Clive Jones steadily and pounced for an overtake on the outside at Charlies after seeing the rear wheel drive car was getting oversteer on the exits. Using the traction of the front wheel drive she set off to get the fastest lap of the race for Class A.
So it’s off to Oulton Park in early September for the MG Cup’s first races there for several years. The turnout looks to good so far with the Cheshire circuit a firm favourite for many drivers.
See you there!!